The Biden administration reportedly is planning to turn migrant family detention facilities in South Texas into rapid processing centers used to quickly screen and release those making asylum claims into the U.S. within 72 hours.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that it had obtained Department of Homeland Security draft plans made in the context of the administration “racing to absorb a growing number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border amid shortages of bed space and personnel.”
“Transforming family detention amounts to a wholesale repudiation not only of Donald Trump administration policies but also those of former president Barack Obama, and presents a significantly different vision of how to handle the fast-changing character of mass migration at the southern border,” The Post added.
President Biden is preparing to convert the immigrant family detention centers in South Texas into Ellis-Island-style rapid-processing hubs that will screen migrant parents and children with a goal of releasing them into the United States within 72 hours. https://t.co/9zcORgTJcf
— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) March 4, 2021
Advocates for migrants are cheering the plans to convert family detention centers in Dilley and Karnes County, Texas, into “quick-release intake facilities that would screen migrant families, check their backgrounds and release them pending an immigration court hearing,” the outlet reported.
“The goal is to process and release 100 families per day, the plans show.”
Last year, during his presidential campaign, now-President Joe Biden came out against detaining migrant families.
“Children should be released from ICE detention with their parents immediately. This is pretty simple, and I can’t believe I have to say it: Families belong together,” Biden tweeted in June.
Children should be released from ICE detention with their parents immediately. This is pretty simple, and I can’t believe I have to say it: Families belong together. https://t.co/11F5X71AO1
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 27, 2020
Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, whose district includes portions of the Rio Grande Valley, warned Biden officials that the signals they are sending are feeding into a rising crisis at the border.
Cuellar said he relayed a message of, “Let’s be cautious,” to those in the White House, during a Wednesday interview with Fox News.
“They cannot only listen to the immigration activist advocates. They also need to listen to the communities on the border that I represent — the mayors, the judges, the [nongovernmental organizations] down there. And with that, you can come up with a balanced approach.”
“Otherwise, who’s carrying the burden of everything we’re seeing down there at the border? It’s not the people who live 1,500 miles away. Those are the people that live in my community right at the border,” he added.
.@RepCuellar to Neil on President Biden’s immigration policies: What the White House needs to do is not only listen to the immigration advocates, they also need to listen to the communities on the border pic.twitter.com/6LPyXnA3qp
— Neil Cavuto (@TeamCavuto) March 4, 2021
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas denied Monday that there was a crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border, describing it rather as a “challenge.”
His pronouncement came as Customs and Border Protection reported over 78,000 encounters with people along the southwest border in January — the highest amount since July 2019.
“Do you believe that right now there is a crisis at the border?” Fox News D.C. correspondent Kristin Fisher asked Mayorkas during a news briefing at the White House.
“The answer is no,” the DHS chief responded. “I think there is a challenge at the border that we are managing, and we have our resources dedicated to managing it.”
“It takes time to build out of the depths of cruelty that the administration before us established.”
CBP reported that the number of encounters at the southwest land border has been increasing since the summer and leaped significantly in October to nearly 72,000. It was about 78,300 in January.
The lowest monthly encounter last year was approximately 17,000 in April as COVID-19 cases began to spike around much of the world.
The highest number of encounters in recent years was just over 144,000 in May 2019.
The mass arrival of migrants continues at the south Texas border and now tents are being used to provide COVID-19 test to the released families in Downtown McAllen @uninoticias @univisionnews pic.twitter.com/EzTRR9VPJQ
— Pedro Rojas (@projas_p) February 25, 2021
“In just one short month, we have gone from America first to America last,” Trump said.
“There’s no better example than the new and horrible crisis on our southern border … When I left office just six weeks ago, we had created the most secure border in U.S. history.”
“It took the new administration only a few weeks to turn this unprecedented accomplishment into a self-inflicted humanitarian and national security disaster,” the former president said.
“By recklessly eliminating our border security measures, controls, all of the things that we put into place, Joe Biden has triggered a massive flood of illegal immigration into our country the likes of which we have never seen before.”